Thursday, October 12, 2006

culinary homerun for the temporally oppressed

Did you make it past that title? The previous fire-breathing post? Well, then, kudos to you.

Peace is insinuating itself into our household, as I slowly remember what it feels like not to want to whack my brother's head against the wall, I accept that yes, the babes is now officially allergic to corn, and prepare to mourn the passing of the strawberry. My articles are written, edited, my very first invoice submitted (ooh, I feel professional!), and I can even giggle over the exhausted man.

For those of you who cannot imagine this, here is a brief clip:
baby: bweaah!
bleary father: (inserts binky)
baby: (spits out binky) bweaahh!
bleary father: (inserts binky)
baby, now truly offended: (spits out binky) BWEAAAAHH!
Now, imagine this going on for a good five minutes, while I wonder why I haven't been called in. Why not? The man was too tired to do anything but repeat the sole action his foggy brain produced as the Appropriate Response to the Situation. Oy.

Yes, now we begin to breathe. And giggle. The Jewish autumnal holidays coming to a short, there is light at the end of my tunnel, and possibly even a chance to install locks on the toilet seats.

The babes has moved into what we call 'gremlin mode,' as he learns to open things and fling them about - or, worse, thoughtfully insert small items into unusual places. From whence, of course, they rarely return. (courtesy of the mice or the babes' imaginative choices? You decide.) He has long since figured out how to climb the stepping stools to either dangle himself by his hands from the bathroom sink, stand proudly on a table, or generally make me gasp and dive. Naturally, the Eldest finds this all wildly amusing, and eggs the kidlet on. Secretly, so do I.

Briefly, then, as I rush off to clean mountains of dishes, assemble school lunch and cook my weight in Succot food, here was tonight's main dish. It assembled in ten minutes flat, and was much too good for what is usually waffle night around here.

Chicken Salad with Lemon and Fennel? What Fennel? Seeds
(adapted from Cooking Light)
serves 2
1.5 Tb olive oil
1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
black pepper
4-5 Tb rice cooking wine
1.5 Tb lemon zest
juice of one lemon (a good juicy one, not a dry one)
.5 tsp fennel seeds
2 crushed cloves of garlic
salad greens
avocado, sliced
dressing: mild vinaigrette, mine was olive oil and rice vinegar, a bit of mustard, honey, curry powder and crushed garlic. Salt and pepper. More oil than vinegar, everything else to taste. (Annoying recipe-writing, but true..)

Dump chicken, salt, pepper into a wok/skillet and stir a bit. Add oil, then heat, sauteeing until chicken is nearly cooked - perhaps 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, sauteeing briefly (1 minute?), then rest of ingredients. Cover, reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes.

Let cool, then toss chicken with greens and avocado and a bit of dressing. Dress lightly - the chicken and its flavorings are the focus here, not the salad dressing.

Results: the salad vanished, and I never got seconds. Yowza.
Note: the fennel seeds disappeared. Didn't really taste them. My suggestion is to consider omitting them entirely, or figure out a way to play them up. Perhaps by adding finely sliced anise/fennel to the salad?
Bonus Recipe!!!

Lemon Crunchies
(slightly adapted from the Kid-Friendly Food Allergy Cookbook, by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger. Loaned to us courtesy of the MIL. Page 157.)
1.25 c. margarine (yes, I really mean it)
1 tsp dry egg replacer (Ener-G Egg replacer worked fine, but the egg replacer is optional)
2 c. sugar
2.5 c. rice flour
1.5 c potato starch
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp powdered vanilla (brutally expensive)
.25 tsp salt
2 c flaked coconut (hard to find allergy friendly)
1 Tb lemon zest
1 c dried cranberries
2 Tb soy milk, more as necessary to achieve correct texture for dough

Using a cake mixer, cream margarine, egg replacer and sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together the rest of the dry ingredients. Add to margarine mixture, mixing until you have a smooth dough - ading soy milk as necessary to achieve this.

Remove from cake mixer and stir in lemon zest and cranberries - by hand.

Heat over to 350 F. Roll cookies into balls, flattening slightly with your palm. Bake 10-20 minutes, depending on size of ball (tsp quantity of dough = 8-10 minutes, larger ball of dough is longer). Cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.

Note: cookies were a bit crumbly. Next time I think we might try 2 c rice flour and .5 c sorghum. They were, however, delicious and not greasy, as I'd feared. I ate most of the first batch - the lemon zest adds a lively flavor. Delightful!


jgfellow said...

I don't bother leaving cookies on the baking tray before moving them to the rack -- they only bake longer that way...


Auntie A said...

More oil than vinegar? Have pity on an inexperienced cook, or I might have to use...bottled dressing! Aieee, the horror, the horror...

Here's hoping you get through the last days of Succot with stress-free cooking and no rabbis in your bra. :)


mama o' the matrices said...

Okay, Auntie, here you go:
I like this: 2/3rds cup olive oil to 1/3rd cup rice vinegar. White wine vinegar is also good, or plain. Cider vinegar has it's own flavor, and would want different spices that I describe here.

About 1 Tb mustard (grainy mustard, please! no yellow), 1 Tb honey. 1-2 crushed cloves garlic, 1 tsp curry powder. Salt and pepper to taste.

Okay, so I made up these measurements, but they are proportionally about right. Still, taste and adjust.

Keep in fridge for a week, longer if container is plastic (metal makes it taste funny).